Picente: MVCC Secures Grant to Train Food Stamp Recipients

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr., today announced that the efforts of a multi-county partnership led by Oneida County’s Office of Workforce Development, the Workforce Investment Board and Mohawk Valley Community College have succeeded in securing a $300,000 state grant to provide job training for Food Stamp recipients. The grant, which can be renewed for four years for a total value of $1.2 million, will work with the Departments of Social Services in Madison and Herkimer counties as well as Oneida County.

“At a time when funding at all level is very scarce, and grants are very competitive, this is the result of some outstanding partnerships,” Picente said. “When we as a region work as team, we succeed. I want to thank the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance for funding this proposal, but also all of the people in Madison and Herkimer counties, as well as Oneida County, who worked to make this proposal a success. This is an important investment because if we move people from food stamps to employment, not only are we helping their lives, we are reducing the need for government services.”

Alice Savino, Executive Director of the WIB, said the program’s main thrust will be to expand a highly successful WIB-MVCC partnership that provide environmental training. “Employers need workers with the skills that are taught in the Environmental Technician Program we designed along with MVCC” Savino said. “We hear from employers time and time again that they want employees with some core basic skills and an ability and desire to apply those skills. This program is a hands-on instructional program that provides trainees with certifications that are needed on the job.”

MVCC President Randall VanWagoner said that the Food Stamp Employment & Training Program is an excellent fit with the college’s commitment to train the emerging workforce. “Community is a very big and very important word in MVCC’s name,” he said. “This program fits perfectly with out efforts to get into the community and meet the needs of community residents who want a better life, but do not have the skills or education to get there. Through our long-standing partnership with the WIB and Oneida County, we were able to respond to this opportunity with some excellent partnerships.”

Oneida County Workforce Development Director David Mathis said that the Food Stamp Employment & Training Program meets the needs of the community. “In a difficult economy, the people with barriers to employments – whether they dropped out, had problems with the law, have limited English proficiency, or had personal problems that got in the way – are too often left behind. This program will help good people who have had some bad breaks catch up and give them the chance to find and maintain jobs that pay good wages.”

Franca Armstrong, Executive Director of MVCC’s Center for Community and Corporate Education, said that program recruiting will begin later this year, and that outreach will take place through the Working Solutions Centers in Utica, Rome, Herkimer and Oneida and the Departments of Social Services in each county. She said that once staff are in place to accept registrations, the community would be notified and that all application forms would be available on the college web site, MVCC.edu.